Sun, May 18, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Chief of US-based media association defends Taiwan

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Another international media organization called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday to end the body's discrimination against Taiwanese journalists by allowing them to cover events at the UN and its agencies.

In a letter to Ban, Clint Brewer, president of the US-based Society of Professional Journalists, said that “To deny legitimate news organizations access to the proceedings of the UN and its affiliated organizations does a disservice to the people served by those news organizations as well as the UN itself.”

The Society of Professional Journalists is the largest journalism organization in the US.

The letter was in response to the WHO’s continual refusal to accredit Taiwanese journalists at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, which will start tomorrow.

The WHO told the Government Information Office that the body had no bias against Taiwanese journalists, but could not issue them press passes because the assembly is held inside the UN’s Palais de Nations, which is closed to anyone not from a UN member country.

Taiwanese journalists can only enter the building as members of the public and are not allowed to sit in the press area.

Brewer condemned the continued ostracism, saying that the policy of exclusion was in direct violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states: “Everyone has the right … to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

“We call on the UN to return to its original policy of providing credentials to news organizations regardless of the origin of the organization or of the journalists,” Brewer wrote.

“We call on the UN to adhere to Article 19 of the UDHR,” he wrote.

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